5IMDC. Notes ‘n’ Things

Readers, I’ll begin with a small apology. When I got to Hawaii three weeks ago to attend the 5th International Debris Conference, I was pumped. Why? Because I was gaining access to new research, new discoveries, and meeting people in the field, and I couldn’t wait to tell everybody! I put up a blog post detailing my first day/night and promised to keep people updated…and then failed to blog the rest of the week.

So, I do apologize…but I was having way too much fun to write every night. That, combined with the jet-lag that never seemed to go away equated to not enough time in the day to sleep and get everything out of the conference that I wanted to. Hence, no blogging (even my Tweeting was lackluster!).

A week later I returned to cold, snowy Burlington, Vermont with a fresh sense of purpose and determination and thought, “Now is a good time to blog!” And then…it snowed. In April. And I found another excuse not to write. >.< So enough excuses!

While a lot of the information I took in at the conference wasn’t necessarily new (to me), it reminded me that plastic pollution really is a big issue, and it’s getting bigger. That’s good and bad news. Bad because the problem isn’t going away anytime soon but also extremely good, because it’s gaining more and more attention: the conversation is growing!

Here’s what I got out of my time at the conference, short ‘n’ sweet. I’ll take some future blog posts to dive further into these topics, since there’s a couple that are really interesting to me and I’d like to explore them further!

– Science and Industry: like it or not, this partnership is here to stay.

– We have a lot of information. It seems like there’s very little and truthfully, marine debris is a growing field of study…but we still have a LOT of info! Enough to take action now. No need to wait for more research when we already know the problem exists!

– The solution to plastic pollution has to include people…the human factor. Most of the people I heard speak at the conference and chatted with were well aware of what plastic pollution is doing to the ocean, to wildlife, to beaches…but we need to relate the problem to people because the public can know all this information and still not do anything about it. We need to bring it back to how it will affect us.

– Every action matters…no matter how small. Cannot emphasize this enough.

– Stop it with the blame game! Stop passing the buck. There is only one ocean and it connects all of us. Plastic pollution is everyone’s problem.

– There is no silver bullet. I see a lot of stuff floating around the interwebs about people touting this solution over that one, or saying certain solutions are more hindrance than help…but we need to consider all solutions, even if they aren’t ideal. If there’s anything I took away from this conference is that we need all the ideas we can get. Also, kids are secret weapons. 😉

There. I’m feeling motivated to take on this challenge. Are you?

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